Painting Laminate Countertops

Painting our laminate countertops... faux real!

So, my dream kitchen includes bright newly stained cabinets, granite countertops and a beautiful tile backsplash.  Unfortunately my house came with old, faded cabinets, laminate countertops (and boy have they taken a beating) and an ugly cream tile backsplash with green and blue stenciling - definitely not my taste.

As much as I would love to update my kitchen, there are more important things for us to spend our money on right now - like bills.  But one day I will have that dream kitchen!

For now I can settle for a lesser remodel.  This will be the first of a couple posts on my budget-friendly kitchen update.

Step One: Painting the Countertops
I did a lot of research online about painting countertops and decided that instead of buying an expensive kit, I would go to Michaels and pick out 6 or 7 of the colors I would like to use to create my faux granite countertops.  In the same aisle I found a pack of sponges as well which I used to apply the paint.

The first countertop I did was a small piece on one side of the stove.  After doing my first application I stood back looked at my counters and... I hated them!  They were a gross red/brown color.  

My first attempt that didn't turn out so well.

So, thank goodness for paint, I drove back to Michaels and picked up some more black paint and a couple of additional cooler colored accents colors and painted them again.  This time they turned out much better.

Close Up

Here's an after shot before the polycrylic top coat.

These are definitely an improvement from the ugly cream countertops we had before (they were stained and had some burn marks! yuck!

This shows one half with the old countertop and another half done.

So, here's what I did to update my countertops:

1. First clear of all of your countertops and give them a good clean.  I personally used dish soap and a scrubber.
2. Next  fill any hole or damaged areas with wood filler.  Let dry and then sand smooth.  We had some burned marks where a pot burned three holes into our countertop.  I had to sand them down, fill them and then sand out the filler until the surface is smooth.
3. Sand your countertops.  You want to roughen them up a little bit to help the paint stick to them.  I personally used 80 grit sandpaper and quickly went over the counters.
4.  Use a primer (I used KILZ) to do an initial coat on your countertops.  Let dry and if necessary apply a second coat.
5.  Now it's time to get to the fun part.  Applying the colors.  I wanted my countertops to be predominantly black in color, so I also applied another undercoat of black acrylic paint with a small roller.
6.  Net use your sponge, or wadded up paper towel to begin dabbing paint colors on.  I started with the darkest color and worked my way to the lightest.  The colors I used were (in order):
     - Black
     - Bittersweet Chocolate
     - Espresso
     - Golden Brown
     - Suede
     - Tan
     - Black Ice (fine glitter)
     - Gold (these last two were used sparingly over top to add some sparkle).
7.  Last I did a final coat of dabbing black over all of the layers and voila: newly painted faux granite countertops.
8.  After letting the paint dry for 24 hours, I applied 4 coats of Minwax Polycrylic.  This gave the countertops a nice shine and will hopefully help them keep up with any wear and tear on the countertops.

Excuse the dark picture and painters tape.

UPDATE:  Here's a better photo of the finished product.  The counters have been holding up pretty well and it's been bout 5 months.  There are a couple of scratches (from where hubby cut directly on the counters) but with the introduction of a cutting board, we no longer have that problem.

Check out our Chalkboard Painted Countertops too!


  1. How much total do you think this cost you to do? I have been looking at the rustoleum countertop kit and that is about $200+ and your way seems much simpler. Just curious so I can weigh that in my factor of what to do with mine. Looks awesome!!

  2. I would say that a good estimate would be $40. The craft paint was less than a dollar a bottle. To break out the cost, let's say I spent $15 on paint, $20 on the polycrylic (which I did not use all of) and $5 for sponges. I already had some sandpaper to rough up the countertop and a brush for the polycrylic. Your price may be slightly more or less than that depending on what resources you already have.
    What I liked about the acrylic paint was that I could choose the colors I wanted to incorporate. Plus, if I didn't like it (like my first trial run) I could repaint over it without paying tons more $$. It held up pretty well too for a painted countertop. One thing that we noticed though was that if you let water sit on the countertop too long the polycrylic would turn a milky white color in the wet spot. But it would go away when it dried (my husband is a very messy dishwasher). Good luck! I'd love to see what you decide on!

  3. I painted my countertops last night and they feel kind of rough as the paint did not completely flatten when I dabbed it on. Did you sand it down before adding the top coat or does the top coat smooth it down?

  4. We had some texture too because you're not putting on a single smooth coat of paint. Plus if you used craft paint, that tends to have a rougher texture than wall paint.
    I actually put the top coat on and didn't sand the paint (I was afraid it would come off). When it dried I lightly sanded the polycrylic coat to create a smooth surface. We did use about 4 coats though which smoothed it out. I didn't sand the very last coat of polyacrylic though.

  5. Great information! I think I will try 2 coats and then lightly sand it down before I put more coats on! You have been a great help! Everyone loves my "new" countertops :)

  6. So my counter tops are all done and I absolutely love them!! Thank you so much for all of your help! Is there a way that I can add pictures here do you know?

    1. I'm so glad! I'd love to see them! You can add pictures by adding the following code:


      You'll have to upload your photos elsewhere on the web (blog, photo album, etc). Once you've done so, right click on the photo and select "copy image address" or "copy image url". Then just paste that where Your Image URL goes in the code above. That will post your photo here in your comment.

  7. I really like the way the countertops look.

  8. Excellent! thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I wanted to thank you for this blog! Lynnwood Granite Contractors


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